Obama hails spirit rebuilding tornado-struck Joplin

Scott Hasty places an American flag next to where his house was before it was destroyed by the massive tornado that passed through Joplin in 2011.

President Barack Obama on Monday praised the community spirit that helped a small town overcome devastating loss as he marked the anniversary of the most deadly U.S. tornado in six decades.

Recalling the kindness of strangers shown Joplin, Missouri, after the tornado killed 161 people a few hours after Joplin High School seniors had attended their graduation ceremony, Obama said the outpouring of help was a source of national inspiration.

“Just as you have learned the goodness of people, so have you learned the power of community,” he told Joplin High School’s graduating class of 2012. “We can define our own lives not by what happens to us but by how we respond.”

Landing in rural Missouri after hosting back-to-back summits of NATO in Chicago and the Group of Eight at Camp David in Maryland, a broadly smiling Obama greeted graduating students, and then reminded them of two classmates killed by the tornado.

“It took Will Norton, who had just left this auditorium with a diploma in his hand. It took Lantz Hare, who should’ve received his diploma next year,” said Obama, who visited a few days after the tornado hit and returned to hail the town’s recovery.

Joplin is still rebuilding from the tornado that was up to three-quarters of a mile wide and stayed on the ground for 32 minutes and 13 miles. The old school has been demolished and students took classes in a shopping mall.

Generous donations, including from movie stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, a Missouri native, came from across the country and around the world.

“Some of life’s strongest bonds are the ones we forge when everything around us seems broken,” said Obama.

He made no mention of the upcoming November 6 election, even though Missouri is a state he needs to win to keep the White House.

But the president’s words echoed the hopeful, unifying theme of his 2008 victory that some critics say has been missing in this year’s already acrimonious campaign.

“You will meet people who try to build themselves up by tearing others down,” Obama said. “But you are from Joplin. So you will remember, you will know, just how many people there are who see life differently; those who are guided by kindness and generosity and quiet service.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.